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6 Oct

You’re all pretty freaking smart from what I can tell, so what I’m about to say may be plain as day to you. Sometimes, however, it helps to hear again that which you already know — especially when you’re sad, and disoriented about what’s true.

I moved here in winter. Admittedly, winter months in NYC feel lonelier. Clearly, even a big town like New York can feel lonely. Maybe lonelier than the small ones. So much water, not a drop to drink.

The psychological effects of loneliness are many. What happens is, you not only don’t have friends, but you also start to think you might just be too unremarkable to regain them. You’re feeling like you’ve somehow failed at your new challenge. Already.

I wish someone had told me this the summer after I graduated college, when I moved to an isolated town and started a new job — working nights, no less. My only friend was TiVo. Seriously. For like a year. The only outgoing or incoming calls were from my parents. I cried a lot — and I was poor as a mouse.

So what do I wish I’d done then that I did when I moved to New York?

• I stuck my neck out. Talked more. Was chattier. Risked saying something inane for saying something at all.

• Asked a TON of questions of the people I met and their own new-to-New-York stories. They all had ’em — plus, everyone’s favorite conversation is themselves. (This is pretty much the only thing you need to remember, ever.)

• Stopped relying on work to meet people. Joined clubs, volunteered, just left the house for the hell of it every once in a while. In NYC, the meetup groups, speed dating events and opportunities to get involved are endless.

• Read How to Win Friends and Influence People. No joke — it’s very, very good.

• Expected to make new friends everywhere. I met one of my closest friends in line for a concert, and I met the first guy I dated at an apartment showing. On occasion, I asked a girl for her phone number. Seriously. But not like that. Just a, “You seem really cool. Could we get a coffee sometime?” It works if you’re not weird.

Anyone else have some proactive, loneliness-curing tips?


Even in New York, that’s not OK: Dating edition

15 Sep

Dating seems to take on a life of its own in Manhattan — people play by different rules. This is not necessarily a good thing. Here are seven things that often take a backseat to the inconvenience, busyness and expense of dating in New York City:

• Not having a plan. Yes, this city is so full of options that picking a date spot is overwhelming. But calling and saying, “So, what do you feel like doing?” is not OK. However, running your choice by your date before you go is polite.
• Being late.
Subways are often late, and Saturday night cabs are hard to find. Leaving with plenty of time to spare is easy. And if you’re 20 minutes late, rest assured we’re only pretending to be OK with it. Not that this has happened to me.
• Meeting at the restaurant.
Pick up your date! Even if it’s by foot, it’s sweet…and it gives you a chance to bring her flowers.
• Not paying for the date. Ask for the date, pay for the date (especially if you pick the restaurant). Not only does it make girls feel all cared-for and ladylike, but it’s very, very sweet in that old-fashioned way.
• Asking someone out when you’re still married. This level of deception has never happened to me (God, I mean that I know of), but OH I’ve heard the stories. Men who do this seem to have one thing in common: being old. Why 55-year-olds want anything to do with 25-year-olds is beyond me, and in NYC, it’s as common as pizza. (Mmm, pizza…)
• Checking your Blackberry on the date. Several times. While I was talking. Not that this has happened to me.
• Saying “I’ll call you,” but then just texting. Because no.

Related: A How-To Guide on Dating and Dumping [NYT]

Who has more?

Ignore this story, and date online anyway

21 Jul

In New York City, many of us pretend to be above online dating and do it anyway. As it turns out, you can do it and not be a loser (i.e. me), but it doesn’t mean you aren’t one either (i.e. the guy I’m about to tell you about). I tried for a while last year. I met some great people — one of whom I am actually friends with (I know, right?)! — and probably every type of man that exists in NYC proper, and a couple in New Jersey. It’s good research when you’re new here (or bored).

While this is unrepresentative of my experience with it, here is the journal entry from the worst date I went on:

DATE #23:
Brian, 7/8/08
I.T. guy

Wow, this is for the books. I feel as if I’ve just been forced to listen to radio static and car commercials for six years and dunked repeatedly in a tank of expired milk. As it goes with most dates, I knew within five minutes that I would never see him again. No chemistry. And he did/said the following things:

– Talked about how his mother puts sunscreen on the crown of his head.
– Volunteered that his family are all “horrible” with money.
– Mentioned his dad’s estranged “second wife.”
– Probably asked me two questions the entire evening.
– Took me to a bar after our meal, where he said one of his best friends is the bartender. The guy looked like an escaped convict and said the F-word about 17 times per sentence.
– Talked about his ex-girlfriend.
– Started many stories with, “Don’t hold this against me, but … “

I don’t know why I just told you that. Date online, everyone! It will make you funny to your friends.